Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by donaldfair71 » Fri May 10, 2019 7:35 am

HEAVY users: Straight Talk Wireless. 25 GB/Month for 45$.

Regular users: Total Wireless. Really good plans, especially with multiple lines.

I believe they are both owned by Tracfone.

I can attest that Straight Talk allows visual voice mail on iPhone.

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by donaldfair71 » Fri May 10, 2019 7:37 am

wander wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 6:19 am
mxs wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 12:39 pm
Another Total Wireless user here. Look at Verizon's coverage map that shows red and pink areas. Total Wireless is only the red area, not the pink area. I would look at coverage maps for all the other carriers and see what works for you. Then, find a good MVNO for that network, and see if they offer a discount on a phone you want. If not, get an unlocked phone that is compatible with them.

I went from retail Verizon to Total Wireless and I have no complaints or regrets. I did drive through a stretch of Oklahoma once and didn't have service that I probably would have had with Verizon, but oh well. Going from ~$130+ a month to ~$65 a month for two lines is great. Their plans are decent for one line, and get better for 2-4 lines.

*Edit* Depending on how you got your current phone, you may not need to get a new phone for the new network. You will have to see if it is carrier locked, if so what the process is to unlock it. Also, you have to look at the GSM vs CDMA thing as well. When I first made the switch to Total Wireless I got their BYOP (Bring your own phone) kit at a store for $1, which is just a SIM card with instructions oh how to change over to their network. Check for SIM card compatibility on SIM card size, if your phone has a SIM card.
With Total wireless, does the data stop if you have used all the data for the month?
Gears down to 3G/2G.

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by captaindorky » Fri May 10, 2019 9:28 am

Moving to Redpocket, can you keep your old phone number? How was your experience?
Painless. Simple. They ported my number over quickly.

+1 to robphoto's comments as well. The Moto phones are great in that they are unlocked and you can easily swap out the SIM card. I've done so multiple times.

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by rj342 » Fri May 10, 2019 9:37 am

shorty313 wrote:
Fri May 10, 2019 7:01 am
mxs wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:50 pm
shorty313 wrote:
Thu May 09, 2019 2:15 pm
Another total wireless user here for about 2 years now, 3 lines for ~$87. Two features I wish it had - hot spot and wi-fi calling. My interior office has shit service, and when I was with Verizon I could do wifi calling to make up for it. Still not an incentive to go back to verizon, but I miss the feature!
I am able to use my Moto G5s Plus as a hotspot when needed. Are you referring to an IPhone thing or something else? Not technically Wi-Fi calling, but I used my phone with Google Duo over Wi-Fi to call from Europe to the US.
Maybe it’s an iPhone thing for the hot spot. As far as WiFi calling, yes I have used Skype in the past. Just when a normal call comes in, I can’t answer over WiFi. Or it doesn’t even ring at all, goes to VM.
Some less expensive plans disable use of the phone's hotspot feature, charging extra for it.

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by mtwhmemn » Fri May 10, 2019 11:08 am

Switched from AT&T to Mint 3 months ago and it is excellent. Can't tell any difference in the services. As with any carrier, you have to make sure it works where you need it most. (I believe Mint uses T-Mobile towers.) The cost is the best I found. You can switch your number(s) within hours. You need to own your own unlocked phones. Bottom line is I went from a 3 figure bill with 2 iPhones to $35/month (tax included!). My wife has a 3GB plan which is an overkill for her use. I have an 8GB plan which is too much too, but I don't want to think about how much I use. If you go over what you pay for it just throttles you to dial up speed, but your phone still has data for essentials like work email, etc.... I feel stupid for not switching earlier. They will send you a SIM card so you can test out service at your home at a very low cost. They even kick back a bit of a discount when you refer others so I "referred" my wife's phone and they made my annual renewal bill only ~ $205 instead of $240! That is whole year of service.

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by ColoradoNewBiker » Fri May 10, 2019 7:35 pm

Vulcan wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 11:25 am
OnTrack wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 2:34 am
I recently signed up with Google Fi. Price seems relatively good especially if you don't use a lot of data. Supports international roaming to many countries without having to get country specific SIM card. There is a very limited choice of phones that work with Fi. It uses T-Mobile, Sprint and U.S. Cellular networks. My 2nd choice would have been Mint.
The best hidden feature of Google Fi are data-only SIMs. They are free and do not incur any monthly charges, they simply use data allowance from the shared bucket. We give them to kids, and their lines are basically free, as their mobile data use is minimal. You can still make/receive voice calls with data-only SIMs with Hangouts/Google Voice over WiFi (free) or mobile data network (about a penny a minute).

With our data use, we pay about $30/month for 3 lines (main line for my wife and two data-only lines for the kids).
Can't beat that anywhere.
+1 for Google Fi. Just abandoned AT&T after 12 years and switched to Google Fi. Very happy and didn't feel any difference in data connection and voice . It'll save us tons of money for data roaming when traveling.

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by mindgap » Wed May 15, 2019 12:24 am

Very interesting thread.

I decided to switch to Visible last yea. Its a Verizon spin off. Its $40 including everything unlimited. But becoming more and more a boglehead makes we wonder if I shoud try out the $20 8GB plan which should be enough for me. Thanks for sharing all your experiences here!

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by JackoC » Wed May 15, 2019 10:34 am

DSInvestor wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:18 pm
I use cricket wireless (uses AT&T network) and have been pretty pleased. We had great signal in most places when taking cross country road trips. Our plan also allows us to use our phones in Canada and Mexico without fear of roaming charges. internet speed is capped at 8Mbps which is plenty for us. I'm able to view videos on LTE without problems. We pay $45/month per line taxes/fees included.

I have also used T-Mobile and their internet speed is significantly faster than Cricket but it's not really that noticeable unless you're doing huge downloads. T-Mobile's plans also offer the option to use the phones/tablets in Canada/Mexico without roaming fees.

We use unlocked iPhones.

You have to consider which networks are strong in your area(s). The last time I went through Montana with my T-Mobile phone, I only had signal in cities. Folks with Verizon phones had much better coverage in Montana.
We also have Cricket on the $25/mo/line plan, 5 lines, including our grown kids, $125 flat per month unlimited GB's. We've found it *basically* the same as our ATT plan which was $196/mo all in when we didn't go over the 15GB limit but which we often did due to kids' use, and sometimes one kid in particular would use the phone outside the US albeit for business stuff and run up a huge bill, which he'd offer to pay but it was still a lot of money out the door (Cricket just won't work overseas: fail safe in that regard).

However in fairness to regular ATT we found on a recent transcontinental road trip that the Cricket speed limit does seem to come into play sometimes trying to send photo's/video's of the trip even with an apparent LTE signal. This isn't a totally scientific comparison, since we also found in fact we sometimes didn't have enough regular ATT signal* to send pictures or run apps in places supposedly w/ LTE coverage per the map on two previous transcon road trips in 2015 and 2018. But, it seems more the case with Cricket. OTOH, day to day 95% of the time we aren't trying to send pictures, stream etc on LTE. We're at home a lot of time on wifi, kids are usually on wifi in their offices or homes. Could be the kids notice small differences in their more intense internet/data use day to day, but being reasonable people they have never complained about their *free* Cricket. :happy And as for us when at home we really don't notice any difference between Cricket and regular ATT. Cricket is mainly to make phone calls or send texts when not home or on cafe/store wifi, occasionally for simple internet browsing during during short cable outages of our home wifi. There's no practical difference the vast majority of the time for us, for at least $850, more realistically $1k+, less per year.

*same network of course.

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by WhiteMaxima » Wed May 15, 2019 10:58 am

if you are 55+, T-Mobile and Sprint $70 for two-line unlimited data.

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Re: Cell Phone Plan/Carrier Recommendation?

Post by tfunk » Wed May 15, 2019 1:51 pm

HIinvestor wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 3:12 am
If you have a friend or relative over 55, the 55+ plan at T-Mobile is $90 for 3 lines, unlimited no throttle) data, text and phone. We have been on it awhile and are pretty pleased with the price and service. No overages. We have had sprint, Verizon and AT&T but really like the lower price of T-Mobile.
Thanks for this. I just called to switch my service from Simple Choice to the new 55+ plan at T-Mobile. Save $20/month. Very happy with T-Mobile for the last 12 years. Service has improved quite a bit over the years. They are responsible for being the price leader and reducing prices for all the US cell phone companies.
One of my favorite features is unlimited free data when travelling internationally. The data is slow but you can get maps, web pages, and email.

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